As a follow-up to my post from this morning, what I am suggesting is a form of a word that has become very popular these days: austerity. When we hear or read of this word today, it is about one segment of society forcing other segments to be austere. The segment that forces austerity does so to enrich themselves beyond measure.
It's an odd dynamic. Wall Street wants you and I to accept austerity so they can be anything but. While we should readily accept degraded incomes and services, their sequestered world will see vastly upgraded incomes and services. In this case, austerity becomes nothing more than a tool to impoverish the many, while enriching the few.
Voluntary austereness is a different animal altogether. It is a conscious personal decision to tread lightly on Mother Earth. It is the understanding that the more I possess comes at the expense of others who may struggle simply to survive. In many ways, austerity isn't the proper word because we choose to lead more simplistic lives joyfully, not staid and dourly.
When austerity is chosen willingly, it is done so for the sake of the community at large. It is an uplifting and positive decision. When austerity is foisted upon others, it is done so for the sake of a small minority. It is a mechanism to sweep others aside and remove the basic joys from life for the many.